Cybersecurity Lost In Unknowns

Security

Today unveiled is a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan


This in the wake of another Federal data breach on Sunday at the Department of Justice where hackers stole and published online the contact information for 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI personnel


And this coming on the heels of the breach at OPM that stole sensitive personnel and security files for 21 million employees as well as 5.6 million fingerprints.


While it is nice that cybersecurity is getting attention with more money, expertise, public/private poartnerships, and centers of excellence. 


What is so scary is that despite our utter reliance on everything cyber and digital, we still have virtually no security!


See the #1 definition for security–“the state of being free from danger or threat.”


This is nowhere near where we are now facing threats every moment of every day as hackers, cybercriminals, cyber spies, and hostile nation states rapidly cycle to new ways to steal our secrets and intellectual property, commit identity theft, and disable or destroy our nation’s critical infrastructure for everything from communications, transportation, energy, finance, commerce, defense, and more. 


Unlike with kinetic national security issues–where we regularly innovate and build more stealthy, speedy, and deadly planes, ships, tanks, surveillance and weapons systems–in cyber, we are still scratching our heads lost in unkowns and still searching for the cybersecurity grail:


– Let’s share more information


– Let’s throw more money and people at the problem.


– Let’s seek out “answers to these complex challenges”


These have come up over and over again in plansreviewsinitiatives, and laws for cybersecurity.


The bottom line is that today it’s cyber insecurity that is prevailing, since we cannot reliably protect cyber assets and lives as we desperately race against the clock searching for real world solutions to cyber threats. 


Three priorities here…


1) Build an incredibly effective intrusion protection system

2) Be able to positively tag and identify the cyber attackers 

3) Wield a powerful and credible offensive deterrent to any threats ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Iran Man

Iron Man

Today, Iran warns a U.S. Navy ship and fighter jet to stay away from military exercises they were conducting.


And what did we, the Superpower, do? 


We hightailed it out of there. 


Yet, presumably we were in international waters this time, so it’s curious why the U.S. military would take it’s orders from Iran if we were legitimately there. 


This is just…


– A little more than 2 weeks after Iran seized 2 U.S. Navy ships and 10 sailors and put them execution style on their knees and broadcast this to world.


– And less than a month after Iran fired missiles within 1.3 km of the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman.


Wonder why did Iran warn us this time and not last month with the aircraft carrier–should we be “thankful” again to them, this time for warning us.


– And just less than 2 weeks ago, Iraq-based Shiite terror militias (alleged proxies for Iran) abducted 3 more Americans (almost simultaneously with their prisoner swap with us–refilling their human cache).  


– All this, plus the 2 ballistic missile tests (those capable of carrying nukes) that Iran conducted in October and again in December in violation of U.N. resolutions, and what do we have? 


A new “Iran Man” (not Iron Man) in town–with over $100+ billion to spend on global terrorism while chanting “Death To America”–and he most certainly isn’t a superhero. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Would ANYONE Close Gitmo?

Gitmo

So over and over again, we read about the desire and promise by some to close Guantanamo Bay (“Gitmo”)–the prison for terrorists against the U.S. 


What are the reasons given and do they make any sense?


1) It’s costly–Yeah, it’s costly to house prisoners, especially incredibly dangerous ones like terrorists who commit mass murder like in 9/11, but what is the cost of letting them go free, especially when the known recidivism rate of the released detainees is close to 29%!


2) It inspires other terrorists–Really, since when does imprisoning bad apples inspire other bad apples. Isn’t one of the well-recognized and intended purposes of incarceration is to dissuade and deter bad behavior, as well as to rehabilitate. Even according to those who question the effectivenss of the deterrent capability of prison, studies show that it should be used to “incapacitate offendors (particularly, those of a chronic, higer risk nature).” In other words, we need to take and keep the terrorists off the battlefield!


Can an argument be made to bring the terrorists into prisons on American soil? Sure, but it makes a lot more common sense not to bring terrorists into the American heartland and risk further violence and danger to our citizens from known terrorists and their jihadist associates. 


Additionally, after 9/11 and the loss of almost 3,000 people, our brave U.S. serviceman and women spent a lot of time and hard work and risked their own lives to capture these dangerous terrorists…why would we want to release the terrorists endangering our military and our citizens all over again (especially when the threat has not abated–see below)?


Has the threat of terrorism gone away that we can say the war on terror is over and so let’s send the terrorists home (the question itself almost sounds ludicrous for anyone living in the age of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, and more)?  Well, according to the RAND research experts, “there has been an INCREASE in the number of Salafi-Jihadist groups, fighters, and attacks.” 

 

And after the recent attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, the downing of the Russia airliner, and many other terror strikes, it is no surpurse that “Americans name terrorism as the No. 1 U.S. problem.”


Perhaps, this helps us understand why Congress is blocking the closing of Gitmo, and why none of us should be able to understand why violent, dangerous terrorist detainees are continuing to be released to hurt U.S. citizens again.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to JBrazito)

Iran Outsmarts And Humiliates

Hostage

Iran so far continues to outsmart us at every turn…

Take just last week:


We released 7 Iranians for 5 Americans hostages plus a $1.7 billion settlement to Iran, even though our victims of terrorism haven’t received their settlement money from Iran. 


Good deal?


Well after Iran released the 5 Americans, the Shitte militias in Iraq “whose funding and direction come from Iran” immediately took 3 new Americans hostage.


Oh well.


How about with the nuke deal with Iran?


We got short-term commitments from the Iranians to restrain their nuke program in return for $100+ billion and a removal of sanctions.


Good deal?


Well after Iran agreed to this, they immediately tested 2 ballistic missiles capable of carrying nukes in violation of UN resolutions, and then Iran threatens to pull out of the deal if we impose any new sanctions


Oh well. 


Then again, what about our naval vessels seized?


Iran took 2 US naval vessels and 10 American servicemen/women and after releasing them, we profusely thank Iran. 


Good deal?


Well after we thank them, Iran broadcasts humiliating images of the Americans on their knees captured, and it is reported that Iran kept SIM cards from the sailors handheld satellite phones presumably to hack these communications in the future. 


Oh well. 


They win some and win some more–AND–we lose some and lose some more. 


Ready for the next humiliating round? ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Scott Joseph)

Refugees or Terrorists–How Do You Really Know?

Jekyll and Hyde

The news about the refugee crisis is truly heartwrenching.  

My own parents and grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust who came to this beautiful country to start fresh and live in freedom and peace.  

So one one hand, I like so many others want to do the right thing from a humanitarian perspective and help people in need.  

But on the other hand, with this new wave of refugees something seems vastly different…


18 of 31 people identified so far in mass New Year’s Eve attacks (sexual molesting, raping, and robbing) of over 500 women in German…were refugees that had already applied for asylum.


At least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 130 people in November is alleged to have been a Syrian refugee. 


At least 3 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11 (from Iraq and Uzbek) have been arrested on terrorism charges and there have been dozens of other counter-terrorism investigations for those resettled here. 


– The ISIS suicide bomber that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week was registered as a Syrian refugee “without setting off security alerts.”


– And again this week, a group of refugees with rocks, bats, knives, attack a Frenchman


– ISIS is already asserting that they will use the refugee crisis to get attackers into the West and are bragging that already thousands have successfully infiltrated


Surely, no refugee vetting process is going to be ironclad–processing mistakes, system errors, and errors of judgement are bound to happen.


Some have also suggested that politics is playing a larger role here in wanting to get as many refugees and immigrants as possible into the country for the purpose of simply getting their cold hard votes…so this is a possible darker side of DC. 


In the end, we need to put politics aside, and figure out how do we help those that really need help and are good people seeking to live peacefully and productively among us, and how do we prevent the next wave of terror from some really bad apples? 


Until we can answer this question substantively, and not by an emotional response of it “is just not who we are,” we need to take this one step at a time and not act rashly and recklessly. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Luis C. Araujo)

Rose-Colored Glasses Make Everything…More Rosey

Rose-colored Glasses

 

Yesterday, Iran detains 2 U.S. naval vessels…


And 10 of our brave military men and wome (from the world’s superpower) are literally on their knees held captive and broadcast for all the world to see.


Yet the truly unbeleivable response is “We don’t see this as hostile intent.”

 

However, Iran’s most unfriendly overtures to the U.S. also include:


Taking 60+ Americans taken hostage for 444 long days. 


Bombing Marine barracks, through Hezbollah proxy, killing 241 American servicemen and women in Beirut


Shooting live missiles within just 1,500 yards of  our aircraft carriers


– Blowing up a replica of a U.S. warship


– Testing multiple ballistic missiles capable of carrying nukes


– Continuing to hold 4 Americans hostage


– Threatening genocide against the Holy Land


Regularly chanting “Death to America” and burning our flag


What do we do?


A deal to release $100+ billion dollar to the world’s #1 sponsor of terrorism and remove sanctions.


Funny thing is we’ve seen this story before…


ISIS attacking and threatening American cities with a new 9/11 attack and seeking to build a dangerous Caliphate


North Korea testing an H-bomb and ballistic missiles with nukes to hit the U.S.  


Russia annexing Crimea and settling into Syria to bolster Assad

 

Syria continuing to use chemical weapons, laying seige and starving tens of thousands of their own people, and killing, wounding, and displacing millions to be absorbed by the West


But we open our hearts and borders and seek to take in more refugees with a questionabe vetting process, not even use the term “radical Islamist,” and to whiteout any red lines that we’ve drawn to protect our national security. 


Surely, our sworn enemies of the Axis of Evil don’t want to hurt us…perhaps, kill and destroy are more accurate terms. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jim Simonson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Just Keep Giving It All Away

Missiles

How do these things keep happening to us?


We lost a high-tech Hellfire air-to- ground missile, accidentally sending it to Cuba, likely compromising critical sensor and GPS targeting technology to China, Russia, and/or North Korea. 


But it’s not all that different from how many other examples, such as: 


– Chinese cyber espionage snared critical design secrets to the 5th generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


– Iran captured and purportedly decoded an RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone.


– Russian spies stole U.S. nuclear secrets helping them to build their first atomic bomb.


We are the innovator for high-tech bar none, which is beautiful and a huge competitive advantage. 


But what good is it when we can’t protect our intellectual property and national security secrets. 


The U.S. feeds the world not only with our agricultural, but with our knowledge.


Knowledge Management should be a mindful exercise that rewards our allies and friends and protects us from our enemies–and not a free-for-all where we we can’t responsibly control our information. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to James Emery)